The European Parliament failed to pass a measure this week that would ban the practice of trawling, an environmentally harmful form of bottom fishing. But the members did make some small progress toward a ban by restricting some of the most environmentally harmful cases, the New York Times reports.
In a narrow vote of 342 to 326, with 19 abstentions, lawmakers rejected a proposal to phase out deep-sea trawling in which heavy nets are dragged on the ocean floor at depths of more than 600 meters, or about 2,000 feet. The Parliament, which meets in Strasbourg in eastern France, did vote to end trawling in areas with ecosystems most at risk, like those rich in slow-growing corals and sponges.
The meeting also called for a wide review of fishing gear used in deep sea fishing, which could lead to a future ban on all deep-sea fishing with gear found to be especially destructive.
The response to the outcome has been lukewarm. Justine Maillot, an adviser to Greenpeace, told the New York Times that the vote showed that the Parliament was "at best halfhearted." She added, "It failed to ban the devastating and indiscriminate practice of bottom trawling."